FIRE RESTRICTIONS: - Fire Season terminated October 24, 2020
FIRE RESTRICTIONS: - Regulated Closure terminated October 14, 2020
MH1 (Wasco County) IFPL: - IFPL Terminated October 17, 2020 MH4 (Hood River County) IFPL: - IFPL Terminated October 17, 2020
ADDITIONAL INDUSTRIAL FIRE PRECAUTIONS: - Terminated September 25, 2020

Thursday, April 15, 2021

ODF Urges Landowners Not to Burn Due to Weather and Fuel Conditions

[Prineville, Ore.] Oregon Department of Forestry’s (ODF) Central Oregon District is seeing a significant increase in escaped debris and agricultural burns, rekindled slash burns, and fires spread from abandoned campfires across the Central Oregon District.  Limited moisture in recent weeks combined with strong winds has resulted in dry vegetation and fuels on the landscape.  Cool spring temperatures have reduced green-up of vegetation which typically slows fire growth in wildland fuels this time of year.   The Central Oregon District has had eleven fires year-to-date; four times the ten-year-average.  These fires have burned more than 200 acres of private lands protected by ODF, the ten-year-average is less than ten acres for the same time-frame.  

The current short-term weather outlook is for daytime temperatures to reach 80 degrees or warmer, with no moisture in the ten day forecast.  Based on this forecast the Central Oregon District is urging landowners to pause any burning planned at this time until some precipitation is seen on the landscape and the risk of wildfire is reduced.  Many local fire departments have canceled burning in recent days due to strong winds in the region.  

ODF is focused on preventing wildfire impacts in communities in Central Oregon and reducing human caused fires.  “We are strongly recommending landowners not burn for the remainder of this week due to weather and fuel conditions,” says Mike Shaw, ODF’s Central Oregon District Forester.  When weather conditions moderate and burning can be accomplished safely landowners should contact their local fire department or ODF office to determine if burning is allowed and if a permit is needed.  Safe burning guidelines included keeping the fire small, have water and tools available to suppress the fire if needed, never leave the fire unattended, clear the area surrounding the burn pile to mineral soil, ensure the fire is out (cold to the touch) when burning is complete, and never burn during windy conditions.  Additionally, revisit the burn area in the days following to make sure there is no heat remaining. Debris burning includes field/pastures and irrigation ditch burning to reduce thatch.

Abandoned campfires have been linked to several recent fires.  Campfires should be small, have fuels cleared away from the fire ring, never be left unattended, and should be completely extinguished prior to leaving.  Drowning with water and stirring is the best way to be certain the fire is out. 

The responsible party can be cited for an uncontrolled burn and held accountable for the suppression costs of the fire as well as any damage caused by the fire.


Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Bull Springs Fire Final

[Bend, Ore.] The Bull Springs Fire, west of Bend, was reported late Sunday afternoon burning in slash, Ponderosa Pine, juniper, and brush.  This wind driven fire grew quickly, burning 211 acres before fire fighters were able to stop the spread.  Two outbuildings were destroyed by the fire, and nearly 200 residences were placed in a Level 3 (GO) evacuation Sunday evening.  Coordination between Bend Fire Department, Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office, Oregon Department of Forestry, and federal resources from Central Oregon Fire Management Service were the key to catching this fire Sunday evening and protecting structures and homes in the fire area.  Aided by dozers from Taylor Northwest, fire crews were able to get line around the fire’s perimeter and focus on any spot fires outside the fireline.

Firefighters have continued to work in the fire area, monitoring for spot fires, and extinguishing heat and flames within the perimeter.  Additional crews from the Department of Corrections and the US Forest Service Prineville Hotshots have aided in this work.  As of Wednesday afternoon the fire is estimated to be 95% contained.  Fire managers anticipate completing the mop-up work on Thursday with five engines and the Department of Corrections crew. The fire will continue to be monitored and checked in the coming weeks to ensure the fire is out.  The Deschutes County Sheriff lifted all evacuation orders Wednesday morning.

The cause of the fire has been determined to be a rekindled debris burn.  Heat can hold in burn piles and even under soil for many weeks with no visible smoke.  With limited recent moisture in Central Oregon vegetation and wildland fuels are very dry, making them susceptible to ignition and rapid fire spread, especially on windy days.  Please check burn piles and burn areas from any debris burning completed this winter or spring to ensure there is no residual heat or fire.  

Below are some tips to reduce the risk of a fire getting out of control. 

·        Check weather forecasts.  Avoid burning on windy days or when wind is forecast to be erratic or increasing.

·        Check with local fire department and county restrictions to be certain burning is allowed and what restrictions should be followed.

·        Never leave a fire unattended.  Be certain the fire is completely out prior to leaving.

·        Have a water source and shovel available while burning.

·        Keep debris piles small.  Add material gradually as the pile burns down.

·        Ensure burned piles are cold prior to adding new material for future burning.

·        Contact 911 immediately if the fire gets out of control.

For additional information on ODF’s Central Oregon District, including contact information and unit offices, please visit www.ODFcentraloregon.com.

Use Caution With Spring Burning

[Prineville, Ore.] Spring is often the time when landowners work to clean up vegetation and yard debris around their property and is the perfect time for cleaning gutters and removing leaves and needles from rooftops to reduce risk of wildfire damage to homes and buildings.  However, Oregon Department of Forestry’s Prineville Unit reminds landowners to be cautious if they plan to burn that material.  Weather in the spring can often be erratic and winds can pick up suddenly, fanning flames and dispersing embers into dry vegetation nearby. Many communities have programs which allow for chipping and disposal of these types of materials at low or no cost to landowners.  ODF encourages landowners to take advantage of these “No Burn” opportunities such as FireFree Events throughout Central Oregon.  Event dates for 2021 can be found here, https://www.firefree.org/firefreeevents/.

Landowners planning to burn yard debris, material from fuel reduction projects, and other commercial forest slash this spring in Crook, Deschutes, and Jefferson counties should obtain a burn permit from the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) and/or follow burning instructions from their local fire department.  Operators and landowners burning forestry slash or fuel reduction materials should complete burning according to the instructions on their burn permit to reduce risks of escaped burns and the rekindling of burn piles later in the season when wildland fuels have dried out.  

Below are some tips to reduce the risk of a fire getting out of control. 

·        Check weather forecasts.  Avoid burning on windy days or when wind is forecast to be erratic or increasing.

·        Check with local fire department and county restrictions to be certain burning is allowed and what restrictions should be followed.

·        Never leave a fire unattended.  Be certain the fire is completely out prior to leaving.

·        Have a water source and shovel available while burning.

·        Keep debris piles small.  Add material gradually as the pile burns down.

·        Ensure burned piles are cold prior to adding new material for future burning.

·        Contact 911 immediately if the fire gets out of control.

Landowners can be held financially responsible for the costs of putting the fire out and any damage caused by a fire if they are found to be negligent while burning.  The responsible party can also be cited for an uncontrolled fire.  Debris burning includes field/pastures and irrigation ditch burning intended to reduce thatch as well as other agricultural type burning.

For additional information on ODF’s Central Oregon District, including contact information and unit offices, please visit www.ODFcentraloregon.com.